Imagine that you’re famous and on tour. You’ve got your own dressing room, and based on your contract, you can have it stocked with just about anything your heart desires. It’s a rider clause, an addendum to a contract for an appearance that details all the extras you require, like only green M&M’S or lilac-scented candles that are lit at all times.
If you were a celebrity, what would you put in your rider?
I’ll go first: Green furnishings everywhere, preferably kelly green. White hyacinths. Perfectly crisped fries of the French and curly persuasion; NO SQUISHY ONES WHATSOEVER. Barq’s root beer. Panda bear plushes. A bowl full of 100 Grands. Firm upholstered seating; I don’t wanna sink in at all. And a stack of my favorite reads: anything Rainbow Rowell, Get In Trouble by Kelly Link, and I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak.
I’m just a simple, down-to-earth gal whose rider would include a vase of tulips of any and all colors, a glass jar of Cheez -Its, snack bags of Hertz pretzels, a fresh Arnold Palmer with a sprig of mint, a Paddington bear, the latest issues of Us Weekly, People, and Entertainment Weekly, the latest Elin Hildebrand novel and the trendiest colors in Essie’s quick-drying nail polish.
I also need Twinings Earl Grey Tea on hand as well as Fiji water. In the mini fridge, I want a mix of red and purple grapes, red pepper hummus, and a bottle of rosé. On the TV in my dressing room should be reruns of Seinfeld, and on the table along with the tulips should be a chamomile and lavender candle.
This is going to be food-based, but, my extras would include: Splits pretzels from my hometown (regular and extra dark). Extra sharp cheddar cheese. Pamplemousse LaCroix. A pound of hot sopressata (sliced really thin). An available iPhone charger. A French press of hot coffee. Some cool face masks. And a fresh notebook. Shania Twain should probably be playing (but is not required).
The point of the rider is to make sure that the venue and producers are paying attention to all of your needs for the show, so it should be a very specific ask. I want Andy Warhol’s Empire laying on silent loop in the background of my green room.
“Give me all the skincare!,” I cry, my dramatic open-arm gesture made more so on account of the sleeves of my kimono once worn by Bianca Jagger and procured at a Sotheby’s auction. Ampoules and serums and rosewater tonic drench every millimeter from face to décolleté. I apply a puff of Kiehl’s Musk from a vintage perfume atomizer and collapse onto a Napa leather chaise. What color? “Surprise me,” I instructed the crew, even though I’d be disappointed by anything but blush. Until the day someone does effectively surprise me with a fresh color I’m ready to receive.
Outside of that, I am very easygoing, I assure you.
My needs are simple. For my mind: a physics professor (or very talented graduate student) who can walk me through the technical details of how black holes evaporate via Hawking Radiation. For my soul: the entire Maryland Men’s Basketball team circa 2001-2002, which may or may not require some kind of time traveling device to procure. For my body: Reese’s eggs, which are seasonal, so they aren’t always easy to find.
My list is a mix of basic, and of course, diva requests. First, I will need some purified water. Some from a Brita filter will do. Second, M&M’s, Sour Patch Kids, and Cheez-Its should also be on-hand in separate dishes—although, if the Cheez-Its and M&M’s ended up mixed together, I wouldn’t throw a fit. Next, the TV should have “The Office” ready to play, particularly the episodes of “The Injury,” “Conflict Resolution,” “The Job, “The Return,” “Dinner Party,” “Niagara,” and “A.A.R.M.” I’d ask the staff to arrange a comfy chair in front of it, with a fuzzy, weighted blanket. My final request is a Corgi. Not a stuffed animal, but a real life, adorable Corgi that I can add to my Corgi brood.
I would like a jukebox full of Bruce Springsteen albums. But the jukebox is Bruce Springsteen, and he is going to sing the songs I ask. I will not put coins inside of him. Also, please do not ask why the venue wants me to perform and not Bruce Springsteen. I have a very niche demo.
A platter of mozz sticks and espresso martinis ready to roll. And a fuck ton of Arby’s curly fries PIPING HOT. NO EXCEPTIONS. PLEASE INCLUDE ARBY’S SAUCE. Lizzo’s “Soulmate” playing on repeat. I don’t care how many times we listen to it. A framed photo of my family when we all lived in the same state. The most comfortable L-shaped couch (previously tested and approved by someone I trust). And my friend Katie B. who lives in Seattle already on the phone to give me my bout of confidence that I always desperately need before I go on stage.
Please fetch me the following, and this thing goes off without a hitch: